Eskom said it will continue to seize assets at the Emfuleni Municipality after the municipality’s urgent application to stop the power utility from attaching further properties failed.
Emfuleni owes Eskom R2.3 billion and failed to make a R262-million payment to the power producer by a fixed deadline last week.
Eskom started attaching the municipality’s assets as a result, after which Emfuleni launched court action to interdict the process.
The Emfuleni Municipality argues that it cannot afford the “unrealistic and unsustainable” repayment arrangement it made with Eskom.
Its court action failed, however, and Eskom continued to seize assets from the Emfuleni Municipality to cover its debts.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha warned that this is only the beginning and they will target other municipalities.
“This is just the start. It is not only the Emfuleni Municipality which will be met this way,” said Mantshantsha.
“There are many other municipalities and large customers that we have in our sights. We are ramping up efforts to collect.”
Cogta steps in
The Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile is urging Eskom to stop action for now.
He asked Eskom to hold on until Tuesday, when Cogta will meet with Eskom management to help municipalities which owe Eskom money.
“The municipality is saying we want to pay, and we are paying, but we do not have an agreement which is realistic, sustainable, and affordable,” said Maile.
He said they want to reach an agreement with Eskom which makes repayment of the debt affordable to the municipality.
Secret power cuts
The news comes after Eskom stated it was cutting power to certain areas in South Africa to minimise the burden placed on the grid by illegal consumers.
Eskom told MyBroadband that these power cuts are intentional, and were in addition to load-shedding.
“This is not load-shedding, but rather an initiative aimed and protecting our assets by reducing load during peak hours,” said Eskom.